Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.
Lesbian actresses have played a significant role in Hollywood, but their contributions have rarely been recognized or spoken of openly; the "lavender marriage" is by no means a relic of the past.
Although American gay film icon Brad Davis has been described as "the first heterosexual actor to die of AIDS," he was widely known as bisexual within the entertainment community.
Liberace was for many the epitome of flamboyant camp, yet he was also a gay man who steadfastly refused to acknowledge publicly his sexual identity.
Considering the unique set of problems facing lesbians who want to produce erotic art for the enjoyment of other lesbians, it is remarkable that so much lesbian erotica has been produced in so brief a time.
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Many gay and lesbian artists who have defied the legal and social prohibitions against explicit or sympathetic depictions of homosexuality have seen their art censored or suppressed.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
Shattered windows at the museum.
Shortly before 5:00 a.m. on October 29, 2012, vandals struck San Francisco's GLBT History Museum, shattering two large plate glass windows. Located in the Castro District, the museum is devoted to displaying and interpreting the history of glbtq people.
None of the historical objects on display at the museum were damaged and no theft occurred. "It's clear that this was vandalism," said Paul Boneberg, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society, the organization that runs the museum. "We don't know who smashed the windows this or why they did it."
According to Boneberg, "When the alarm sounded at 4:50 this morning, the security firm immediately summoned the San Francisco Police Department and notified our staff, who were on the scene very quickly. In short order, the broken glass was removed and the windows were boarded over."
The GLBT History Museum closed for clean up on October 29, but planned to reopen Tuesday for its normal hours, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The total cost of the damage is not yet known, but will be minimally a few thousand dollars, Boneberg said. Donations to assist with the repairs and to support the museum can be made online here.
The GLBT History Museum is a project of the GLBT Historical Society, a research center and archives founded in 1985 that houses one of the worlds largest collections of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender historical materials. Currently featured at the museum are two major exhibitions: "Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating San Francisco's GLBT History" and "For Love and Community: Asian Pacific Islander Queers Take Action, 1960s-1990s," plus a special temporary display, "Play Fair! The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Make Sex Safer."
The depfox YouTube video below features a tour of the GLBT History Museum soon after it opened in 2011.